Right-hander Justin Verlander pitched into the eighth inning and
second baseman Ian Kinsler stroked three hits, including a home run,
and drove in three runs as the Tigers routed the Royals 10-1 on
Friday night to open a three-game series.
The Tigers continued their mastery of the Royals, winning 12 of 17
games this season. They also opened a 1 1/2-game over the Royals as
they aim for their fourth straight American League Central title.
"Obviously, it's a huge series for us, but that's what I love about
this team. We always seem to know the moment," Justin Verlander
The Royals have had few "moments" like this in decades, sans a
playoff appearance in 29 years and important late September series
with first place at stake.
Verlander (14-12) limited the Royals to one run and seven hits in 7
1/3 innings, striking out four and walking none. Verlander improved
to 4-1 in his past six starts.
"He certainly seemed like he was up for this game," Tigers manager
Brad Ausmus said. "It was up there with one of the best games he's
had all season."
The Detroit offense made it easy for Verlander, scoring early and
"There's no carryover," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "They whipped
us, the beat us, they spanked us, whatever you want to say. We'll
show up again tomorrow and be ready to play."
Kinsler led off the game with a single and scored in the three-run
first inning. He contributed a RBI double in the fourth and hit a
two-run homer in the fifth.
J.D. Martinez also had three hits and is batting .458 (22-for-48)
against the Royals this season.
Every Tiger starter had at least one hit, with seven collecting
mulit-hit games as Detroit bashed out 19 hits.
Second baseman Johnny Giavotella doubled in the eighth inning and
scored on shortstop Jayson Nix's sacrifice fly for the Royals' only
run. Neither started the game as Yost began emptying his bench after
the Tigers led 10-0 after five innings.
The Tigers wasted little time silencing the sold-out Kauffman
Stadium crowd, scoring three runs in the first inning and leading
10-0 after five innings.
"It's disappointing to the fans," losing pitcher Jason Vargas said.
"They should be disappointed. They come out here to see play a
competitive game and we didn't do that from pitch one. I'd be
disappointed if I was them as well."
By the time Kinsler's two-run homer landed in the left-field seats
in the Tigers' five-run fifth inning, many fans were heading for the
Vargas was yanked after 3 1/3 innings, his shortest outing since
April 20, 2013, while with the Angels.
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"I don't think I was getting frustrated, just that I wasn't getting
people out," Vargas said. "Obviously, that is frustrating. Fact of
matter is they were hitting good pitches and I was leaving pitches
up in the zone. I just wasn't able to put us in the right
The Tigers were 9-for-19 against Vargas, who threw 30 pitches in the
first inning. In two starts this season against the Tigers at Kansas
City, Vargas has yielded 20 hits and 12 runs in 8 1/3 innings.
The Tigers' three-run first inning included first baseman Miguel
Cabrera's run-producing double and RBI singles by designated hitter
Victor Martinez and shortstop Eugenio Suarez.
The five-run fifth came off right-handers Casey Coleman and Louis
Coleman, both of whom spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha.
After that inning and with the game apparently out of reach, Yost
pulled four of his starters -- left fielder Alex Gordon, second
baseman Omar Infante, catcher Salvador Perez and center fielder
"We just went out there and we what we're capable of doing," said
Tigers center fielder Torii Hunter, who had two hits, including an
RBI double in the second inning.
NOTES: Tigers C Alex Avila remains sidelined with concussion-like
symptoms after being tagged on the head Sunday. September call-up
James McCann started behind the plate. ... The Royals brought up LHP
Tim Collins from Triple-A Omaha, giving them an 11-man bullpen.
Collins was 0-3 with a 4.15 ERA in 18 relief appearances with Kansas
City earlier this season. He pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. He joins three
other lefties in the bullpen -- Francisley Bueno, Scott Downs and
rookie Brandon Finnegan. ... RHP James Shields, who starts Saturday,
threw seven scoreless innings and allowed just two hits in beating
the Tigers 3-0 on Sept. 10. The Tigers will counter with RHP Max
Scherzer, the 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner who is
third in the league with 237 strikeouts.
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